Not gonna lie to everyone, I have been extremely lazy about posting recipes this year. What can I say, I’ve been traveling and dining out… a lot. Probably too much.
Luckily, I recently was struck by some inspiration thanks to our friends at Wheatsville. Do you shop at Wheatsville? They’re the only retail food co-op in Texas and they’ve been serving the Austin community quality natural foods since the 70s! Total “old Austin” vibes in a modern, vibrant package. Their two locations are colorful, friendly, and just the right size – small enough to navigate easily, big enough to grab everything you need for dinner. This month we collaborated together to develop a recipe featuring two of their November vendor spotlights:
Dewberry Hills Farms has been a Wheatsville partner since 2008 and is the co-op’s November “vendor spotlight.” Dewberry Hills Farms is a small, local business run by husband and wife duo Jane and Terry Levan that provides central Texans with compassionately raised pasture chickens.
La Riojana Wines is another important co-op partner. Located in the pristine Famatina Valley in the heart of Argentina’s La Rioja province, it is the largest and most successful winery co-op in Argentina and one of the largest producers of fair trade, organic wine in the world.
Meat and wine?! I’m in! My mind immediately wandered to braising, one of my favorite ways to cook this time of year. (I say “this time of year” like Austin isn’t still 75 and sunny most days in late fall / early winter…)
As I browsed cookbooks and Pinterest, one of my favorites stuck out to me: coq au vin, the classic French dish featuring – spoiler – chicken and red wine. Done and done! This version isn’t 10000% ultra authentic, I took some liberties, added a few things, and took away a few things as well (no lardons here, I’ve been feeling a little porked out lately). This is also a really easy version, once you brown the chicken and add in all the liquids and initial veggies, you just let it sit in the oven and cook low & slow for an hour.
Bonus: your kitchen is going to smell innnncredible.
Wheatsville was kind enough to provide the funds for me to grab my chicken, vino, and all other supplies needed to create this ultra comforting and irresistible recipe. Even better, they gave me another $30 giftcard to pass on to you! Head over to my Instagram to enter the giveaway – I’ll pick a winner on December 4th.
Red Wine Braised Winter Chicken
3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 pieces of skin-on chicken – your call (breast, thighs, and/or drum). I used two thighs and a breast from a Dewberry Hills Farms chicken
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1/8 cup sherry
1/2 bottle red wine – I used Riojana Cabernet Sauvignon
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 yellow onion, chunked
4 large carrots, chunked
5 fresh thyme sprigs
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup pearl onions, peeled
2 cups crimini mushrooms, quartered
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Preheat your oven to 300°.
Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron dutch oven (or other comparable stovetop + oven safe deep dish) over medium heat. While olive oil is heating, liberally salt and pepper both sides of your chicken. Once the olive oil is shimmering (about 5 minutes or so), brown the chicken on both sides until it gets some nice color and texture, about 5 minutes each side.
Turn the heat down to low and add your garlic and shallots. Sauté until translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with your sherry and let it cook down for another 5 minutes, then add the red wine, broth, onions, carrots, and herbs. (Then pour a glass of the remaining wine for yourself, obviously!) With the lid on, put your chicken-filled dutch oven into the… big oven. Cook for an hour.
After your hour has passed, open the dutch oven and add the pearl onions and mushrooms. Stir in your butter-flour paste, put the dish back in the oven, and cook, uncovered, for another 15-20 minutes.
Before & after:
Mmm, purple chicken. After the 15-20 minutes have passed, check your pot again and remove and discard the herb sprigs (most of the rosemary and thyme should have naturally fallen off their sticks). The chicken should be so tender that it’s starting to shred when you stir, which is just fine. Yum.
At this point, the butter and flour should have thickened up your sauce considerably, but if you are like me, some things don’t work out exactly how you planned. Dang it! What I did, and what you can do too, is stick the dutch oven back on a medium-heat stove burner and let it cook down for another 15 minutes or so if you don’t want to wait for it in the oven forever. Depending on how thick or thin you like your liquid, you could also add more butter-flour or a cornstarch slurry.
Taste your sauce and add more salt and pepper as needed, then it’s time to plate! Ladle a piece of chicken and plenty of vegetables into a nice big bowl and garnish with another sprig of thyme and/or rosemary. Serve with a slice of fresh, crusty bread – I used Wheatsville bakery’s rosemary sourdough and it was the perfect complement for this dish!